By Joshua Olomu
Durban – Mr Phil Molefe, Chairman National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) of South Africa, has called on filmmakers in Africa to embrace modern technology in order to reposition the sector on the global stage.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that he made the call in his presentation at the ‘NFVF Africa Focus’ session of the ongoing Durban International Festival (DIFF) holding from July 19 to 29 in South Africa.
The NFVF, a key sponsor of the annual film fiesta, is an agency of the country’s Department of Arts and Culture created to ensure equitable growth of the country’s film and video industry.
According to Molefe, all filmmakers and industry players in Africa need to be abreast of cutting edge technology in the digital age so as not to be left behind as filmmaking evolves across the globe.
“ In any industry those who embrace technology remain competitively relevant, and that is why it is important for us to adopt cutting edge technology in Africa as filmmaking is changing at a very fast pace.
“As players in the industry, we need to keep abreast of technological developments and make them work for us, and to do our work even far better than we used to do.
“Digital technology is even changing and redefining the industry, as we are no longer watching cinema from within the four walls, as films can now be watched from a digital tool, like a cell phone.
“It is therefore important that we embrace and take advantage of what the digital technology is offering, and start to produce and deliver better contents to our consumers,” he said.
Molefe noted that although governments and other relevant agencies needed to support with funding and the necessary enabling environment, filmmakers need to be aware of cost effective ways of producing films in this digital age.
He added that the African filmmaker needed to be more innovative and pursue progressive improvement in a dynamic filmmaking environment.
“Nowadays, through creative and innovative ways of doing things, you can actually produce a film in a very cost effective way,” he added.
He also charged relevant government agencies in Africa to collaborate and build strategic partnership towards the collective growth of the continent’s film industry.
According to him, such synergy will make African film industries and stakeholders complement one another.
“Basiclly, by collaboration we mean bringing the best of what you have and supplement the best that I have for us to produce a magnificent product.
“For example, Nigeria has a very rich content base and South Africa has a very advanced infrastructure and technology.
“Can you imagine if Nigeria and South Africa were to collaborate; one bringing content and the other one bringing infrastructure what the product would look like?”
Also in his presentation, Mr Timothy Owase, Chief Executive Officer of Kenya Film Commision(KFC), called for active government involvement to build practical and sustainable collaborations between African countries.
He expressed concern that hitherto many collaborations in Africa were merely between filmmakers.
“We also need an institutional framework were governments of these countries recognize these partnerships other than just the one of a filmmaker to filmmaker.
“If I have a production that has a Nigerian, South African and a Kenyan, that means there will be an aspect of these three countries in the film.
“That will promote unity as an objective of the African Union, so we can work and win together and ultimately create an African film hub.”he emphasized.
In the same vein, Mr Adedayo Thomas, Executive Director of National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) ,who represented Nigeria at the forum, stressed the need to build a Pan-Africa movie industry.
He explained that Nigeria as a pacesetter, with its Nollywood , in the continent was committed to building collaborations.
“We have agreed that Nigerian, South Africa, Namibia, Kenya and Ghana will be under one stand as “Africa Pavilion” at international film festivals outside the continent,” he said